The spatial dynamics of land use change in Kigali: Calibration, impact, and policy impliations

Project Active since Cities

  • Kigali has unusually advanced land use planning and formality, through national land registration, district land use plans, and a detailed Kigali City masterplan.
  • This study assesses 1) to what extent buildings comply with the masterplan; 2) to what extent residents are aware of the masterplan; and 3) what solutions to increasing masterplan compliance would be acceptable and reasonable for residents.
  • The study found that only 32% of buildings surveyed comply with the masterplan and only 27% of households surveyed knew of the masterplan -- of these, only one-third knew the masterplan requirements for their neighbourhood.

Finding ways to benefit from rapid urbanisation is a key challenge for many African countries. However, little is known about the factors shaping land prices, the impact of high planning standards, functioning of land and mortgage markets, and methodological issues with any research on this topic.

In addition to the results outlined above, depending on the area, 9-30% of households lacked proper land titles. Despite this, households felt secure in their land ownership: 95% felt there was no chance of private disputes regarding their parcel of land, and two-thirds thought there was no chance of losing their land due to masterplan implementation. A clear policy recommendation is increased efforts to communicate the masterplan and the benefits of proper land registration.

The study had several additional findings of interest, especially:

  1. Commuting times are under 30 minutes for most people, but commuting costs are high, at $1-1.40 for a two-way commute;
  2. There is an expected pattern of smaller land parcels, greater ground cover, and higher land prices towards the Central Business District;
  3. There is a moderate level of under-employment in Kigali, with household heads working on average 32 hours per week, including 13 hours on their own farms.

This project is at the request of the Rwanda National Resource Authority and forms part of a long-standing engagement with the World Bank’s Research Department.